JOIN ME IN AN INTERVIEW WITH INNA NEDOSTUPENKO FROM KHARKIV, UKRAINE !
Inna Nedostupenko is a traveler and blogger with a passion for psychology and volunteering. She has participated in many volunteering projects and international exchange back when she was a student. After switching a couple of jobs she realised that she cannot stay in one place and on one job for years. Her life is a constant movement and currently she is on a year+ trip around Asia. She is an experienced solo traveler but around a year ago she met the love of her life and they have been traveling together now. So far she has visited 18 countries and they are trying to spend at least 1 month in each country. When she was living in her hometown, she always dreamt to escape it and see the world. Her dreams have come true but the more she travels the more she realises that her home city Kharkiv is actually a great place to live in !
Which is the best month to visit Kharkiv and why?
Kharkiv is the largest city in Eastern Ukraine with a population of 2.5 mil and was also the former capital of the country. A lot of Ukrainian and foreign students move here to study so Kharkiv is known as a students’ city.
The best month to visit is in late May or early June – the temperature would be warm and all the flowers would be in bloom which makes Kharkiv especially beautiful.
Which is the most convenient and favoured transport of Kharkiv?
The best way and the most convenient transportation to get around is subway that costs even cheaper than buses, 5uah. It can be crowded during rush hours, but in which big city it isn’t? Visitors often tend to use taxi as it’s pretty inexpensive.
Which are the top 3 must visit places in Kharkiv?
Stroll across Freedom Square – the central square of Kharkiv, is the sixth largest square in Europe and the eleventh in the world. It’s on the Freedom Square where all mass celebrations and festivals of Kharkiv are held. Circuses, theatres, sand and ice sculptures, a skating rink and an amusement park are also often installed here. All sorts of fairs and parades often take place there as well.
Intake some history at the Annunciation Cathedral which is striking in size and of extraordinary appearance. It was erected in the early twentieth century, combining different styles. In particular, one can notice the Balkan-Byzantine features in the main building of the church, and the bell tower surprises with more characteristic Gothic lines.
For entertainment, both for adults and kids, visit Gorky Park. The 130 hectare park is a must-see place not only among Kharkiv citizens, but also for all visitors to the city. Attractions for children, adults and extreme sports, the largest Ferris wheel in Ukraine, rental of bicycles, segways, pedal cars, rollers, a horror room, a mirror maze (by the way, also the largest in Ukraine), and a most magnificent central alley. This is also a great place to relax and enjoy lush green nature around. Here you can buy cotton candy, ice-cream, hot dogs, fried corn – that’s pretty much all the “street” food you will find in Kharkiv.
What are the best day trips for nature, culture and history from your city ? Do you recommend any local tour operators who can help the visitors arrange so ?
Take a chance to plunge into the enchanting atmosphere of the XIX – beg. XX cent by going on a day trip to the old noblemen’s mansions of Kharkiv region located in the nature.
The most famous and spectacular mansion is situated in Sharovka (about 70 km from the center of Kharkiv). The mansion is built in Gothic style, surrounded by numerous park paths and terraces designed to create sophistication of the classic European park.
Booking a tour in English might be a bit tough, but you can contact this travel agency KrainaUa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Which is the most celebrated holiday in Kharkiv?
Another great time to visit Kharkiv is during the most celebrated holiday for Ukrainians – New Year, but mind that it is pretty cold at that time and the temperature drops down to -15.
New Year is a cheerful day when people exchange presents, decorate a Christmas tree, go out for parties or spend time with family. The city gets decorated couple of weeks before the actual celebration, streets and parks get illuminated by twinkling lights and Christmas songs sound from every corner – all this creates a great mood!
A lot of people choose to visit a huge open air concert on the Freedom square that is held annually and enjoy the biggest fireworks in the city.
There is something for everybody in this holiday and most of the people plan in advance how to celebrate their New Year, where and with whom. Moreover, this celebration is followed by the longest holiday time around 5 days, and the vacation for kids around 2 weeks.
Which is the most happening area in Kharkiv and why? Would you suggest any bar or restaurant in particular ?
The most lively place would be the historical city center situated between Istorychnyi Muzei and Universytet subway stations. Come here in the evening and take a walk along Sumska Street to a lot of street performers, see people doing tricks on skateboards and bikes near the Opera Theater, enjoy a beautiful park and see old buildings of Kharkiv.
Drop in one of the most popular bars Probka for inexpensive beer and great bar food or to a more posh Moskvich Bar.
Where to head for affordable shopping?
Go mega-shopping to “Barabashovo” which is a like a city inside the city. This market is in the top 15 largest markets in the world with the area over 75 hectares and most importantly – about 20 thousand trading places. Without exaggeration, everything can be bought here. However, one needs to have enough strength and nerves to find and bargain for the necessary thing.
For those who do not like the market atmosphere and aim for more upscale shopping, city shopping malls have their doors open. The most popular ones are “Karavan” and “Duffy” near Heroiv Pratsi metro station. There you can buy not only products or clothes of famous brands, but also have fun on the ice arena, relax in local restaurants, play bowling or watch a movie.
What is the most loved local food, savory and sweet of Kharkiv? Do you suggest a place to try it?
As for food, locals love to explore different cuisines and flavors, so there are plenty of options for any taste.
Do check out City Cafe 16/54 – one of few places in Kharkiv that serves breakfast all day; the cuisine is international: pasta with meatballs, burgers, fried liver with buckwheat, veal with mashed potatoes and much more. Average cheque is 200-300uah.
If you are a vegetarian, Kharkiv will not leave you disappointed too – most restaurants offer vegetarian options; if you are looking for a completely vegetarian menu check out a Green Food Cafe that offers dozens of vegetarian, vegan and raw foods.
If coming to Ukraine, do check out country’s national soups such as Borshch, Ukha (Fish Soup), Okroshka and other dishes like Varenyky, Cutlets, Deruny (potato pancakes). In Kharkiv you can find a variety of traditional foods at the restaurant Sloboda, however, if you are looking for something more modern, visit art-café Plastilinovaya Vorona that offers chef’s exclusive Transcarpathian cuisine in ethno-fusion style.
Do you recommend any walking tours or travel photography tours in your city to the visitors?
Take a Free walking tour to discover memorable sights and culture of Kharkiv or meet friendly locals through the app Couchsurfing (section Hangouts) that would gladly show you around.
Would you recommend any popular local apps to tourists for transport, food and hidden gems in Kharkiv?
If you don’t feel like going out, you can order food delivery through the app Eda.ua.
To get around Kharkiv conveniently you can use the infamous Uber with the approximate fare of 60-100 uah for 10-15 min drive.
Download an offiline map of the city through the app 2GIS and you won’t get lost if you don’t have internet for sure.